All posts by Thomas L. Knapp

Disband and Defund the Touchy, Stealy Administration

A TSA officer inspects a piece of luggage. Source: Wikipedia

“Inappropriate.” “Invasive.” That’s how Kevin Payne of San Diego, California describes a Transportation Security Administration employee’s “patdown” of his daughter Vendela at the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina airport. He’s unduly kind. The “patdown” — which Payne captured on cell phone video — was a sexual assault which, in any sane society, would have ended with the perpetrator’s arrest.

The TSA’s response? The assault “followed approved procedures.” Turning every airport terminal in the US into the functional equivalent of one of Uday Hussein’s “rape rooms” is apparently a feature, not a bug, in America’s post-9/11 “security” software.

It’s time and past time to permanently disband TSA and let airports and airlines go back to providing for their own security.

After 13 years of operation, with an annual budget of nearly $7.5 billion, the TSA has yet to demonstrate its usefulness in stopping terrorism aboard airplanes. It routinely fails tests in which inspectors smuggle weapons past its security checkpoints. So far there’s been not a single verifiable instance of TSA foiling a terror plot. And it’s invariably local law enforcement, not TSA, which  effectually responds to security incidents at airports (as in the 2013 LAX attack, in which a TSA agent was killed before local airport police shot the gunman, and the 2014 New Orleans incident in which a deputy sheriff shot a man who was chasing a TSA agent with a machete).

The only thing the organization appears to be any good at is empowering its employees to ogle and feel up travelers and steal goodies from travelers’ luggage.

As for the costs, that $7.5 billion budget doesn’t even begin to touch them. According to the US Bureau of Transportation statistics, there were 685 million airplane passenger boardings in the United States between October 1, 2014 and September 2015. Assuming an average wait time of 10 minutes to get through the TSA’s screening line, that’s 1.1 million hours of lost time for passengers — hours they could have spent working, or shopping, or getting to where they were going, instead of waiting to find out whether or not they’d win the TSA lottery to have their genitals fondled or their laptops swiped from their checked luggage.

Yes, I get it. 9/11 was a horrible day and the urge to “do something” to prevent future attacks is entirely understandable. But the Transportation Security Administration is clearly not up to the task. It doesn’t make us safer. It just inconveniences, assaults and steals from us.  Let’s end this nonsense.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


“Gun Control” — Can Someone Please Make That Man a Ham Sandwich?

Gun photo from RGBStock

On January 5, US president Barack Obama unveiled his first major policy action of the new year: A  batch of new victim disarmament — or, as its supporters  call it, “gun control” — measures which he intends to impose by executive order.

The response from Republicans in Congress is, pardon the pun, weak tea. They merely accuse him of “executive overreach,” claiming that the powers he claims lie with Congress, not the presidency. He retorts that the orders are “well within [his] legal authority.”

Both sides are wrong. The language of the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment is clear and its intended meaning is well-documented. The framers of that amendment — who had just emerged from a long war against the world’s most powerful army, a war won by an armed citizenry — understood the right to keep and bear arms as a right “of the people.” They specifically and intentionally barred the president, Congress, the state legislatures, your local city council, ANYONE, from infringing it. Every “gun control” law now on the books is unconstitutional and therefore, per Madison v. Marbury, void.

Not only is Obama’s executive order sortie, taken in conspiracy (“consultation”) with the Attorney General of the United States and other government functionaries, not within his legal authority, it’s a crime.

Under US Code Title 18, Section 241, “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same … They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section … they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

I’ve heard it said that a grand jury will, if asked to do so by a prosecutor, “indict a ham sandwich.” Is there a prosecutor and a grand jury in the US brave enough to bring Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch and their co-conspirators before the bar of justice?

Probably not. But with 300 million guns in the hands of 100 million Americans, it’s unlikely that this regime’s attempted depredations can be made effective. Like Walt Whitman said, “resist much, obey little.”

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


Election 2016: Will You Take a NAP With Me?

With the next US national election only a little more than ten months away, you’ll soon be hearing from, and about, candidates of all parties. America’s third largest party, the Libertarian Party, will likely run more than a thousand candidates for local, state and federal office. Some of them, mostly at the local level, will win. As a voter, you owe it to yourself to know what the candidates asking for your vote are all about. So here, in a nutshell, is what the Libertarians are all about.

New members of the Libertarian Party, at the national level and in most state party organizations, must sign a pledge as part of their enrollment: “I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

That pledge is reiterated and expanded upon in the Libertarian Party’s Statement of Principles. In shorthand, we refer to it as the Non-Aggression Principle or the NAP.

It means exactly what it sounds like it means. It means exactly what you were probably — hopefully! — taught as a child by your elders and instructors: Don’t assault others. Don’t threaten others with violence to get your way. Don’t steal other people’s property. The only moral use of force is in defense against those who START a fight.

These are the most basic rules of any sane society, and most of us carefully follow those rules in our daily lives. At some point, however, the institution we call “government” successfully carved out an exception for itself.

If you or I demand money at gunpoint from another, it’s called “armed robbery” and treated as a crime. If government agents demand money from us, and abduct and cage us if we refuse to cough up, it’s called “taxation” and somehow magically becomes “legitimate.”

If you or I break into a neighbor’s house and rifle through his medicine cabinet, it’s called “burglary” and treated as a crime. If government agents burst into that neighbor’s house, find medicines they don’t approve of and haul the neighbor off, it’s called “drug enforcement” and somehow magically becomes “legitimate.”

And so on and so forth.

But aggression is never “legitimate,” even if the aggressors carry shiny badges and receive government paychecks.

Next year, the “major party” candidates will offer up all kinds of excuses and justifications for aggression. They’ll try to convince you that they’re running your life and taking your money — at gunpoint and on pain of imprisonment for resistance — for your own good.

Only the Libertarian Party’s candidates will assure you: “We certify that we oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.” And that’s why only Libertarian candidates deserve your vote.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.